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St. Moritz, 27th - 28th of August, 2021

As we all know the last 1 ½ years were full of deprivations, a lot of events were cancelled and now travel restrictions prevent one from visiting some that actually take place. A lot of organizers face the second successive year of a cancellation leaving many of them loosing possible sponsorship and opportunities to grow. So some events were made happen in smaller form just to keep going and therefore an event actually growing is something very unusual these days.

The last August weekend saw the 10th edition of the Passione Engadina held in the name giving region around the posh ski winter resort St. Moritz were the rich and beautiful assemble as soon as the first snow drops. Now, at the end of the summer holidays the risk of snow is rather small and so usually about 100 classic cars of Italian heritage assemble at the Hotel Kulm in the centre of St. Moritz.

Being a jubilee edition additionally 40 modern Supercars, most of them from Maranello, joined the fun in the Alps.

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Friday was the day the cars were lined up at the Kulm Country Club for the registration and with a lot of Swiss entrants many cars were rarely seen elsewhere, so visiting the Passione Engadina for the first time made a nice change from the usual suspects one does see on so many events all over Europe. With the travel ban to the US and restrictions hanging over the British events like the sword of Damocles finally there was the time to check out this event and to make thing short it certainly did not disappoint. The quality of the cars seen Friday was excellent led by numerous Ferrari old and new with some exotic pre-war machinery in between including an ex Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo 8C Monza.

The sun was shining that day over the country club but as weather could change a lot in the mountains the sun was only seen infrequent during the next days as the sun-rays exchanged frequently with light rain both on the driving day and the final concours. In the afternoon the teams had the opportunity to train on the nearby airport for the upcoming time trials as the Passione Engadina is a regularity event in the tradition of the Mille Miglia or other events of this kind.

Saturday morning the cars were lined up for the start over several mountain passes. As roads around St. Moritz are restricted due to the geographic a lot of regulars did know exactly what to expect when the road lead over the Splügenpass on the way to the lunch stop. Being rather narrow with a lot of serpentines and small tunnels the steep climb is a challenge itself for some of the older cars but unfortunately a slightly later date in the year also meant that the rally was held on one of the last weekends of the summer holiday giving it a little more traffic than usual.

With Swiss travellers on their way home and even more caravans from the north of Germany and Netherlands exploring the mountains there was chaos at some of the bottlenecks of the pass when the downwards traffic blocked the way of a free drive up the hill for the classics. So beside the smell of the brakes from the cars on their way down there was also the smell of the vintage clutches of the classics on their way up. Fortunately this part of the rally was soon over and the rest of the day could be more enjoyed.

After the lunch the corso divided between the modern supercars and the classics as the modern ones did an extra loop over Davos before joining the classics on the way back to St. Moritz over the Julierpass. Once back in St. Moritz the cars did another small detour to the airport were a few more regularity trials had to be driven before a small drive though the town centre and a presentation to the public led back to the garage of the hotel to finalize the driving day.

Sunday saw a “Concours” were the beauty of the car was more important than the ability of its drivers to handle a road book and a stop watch. In today's scene it is rather uncommon to have a concours on a driving events, most of the time it is rather that you have a concours with a small tour to show the road going of the meticulous restored vehicles. And very often those showing cars on the concours are different characters than those doing the driving events.


But one car really stood out that weekend when talking about elegance, and that was the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS from the Lopresto Collection. Being himself a very well-known character in the international concours scene Corrado Lopresto brought his freshly restored Alfa to St. Moritz without any fear of getting it wet before the concours and so the elegant black coupé could be seen both on the road and at the country club were it won Best of Show not by surprise.

Although the Passione Engadina seems to be more a local driving event compared to the big rallies in Italy or the Tour Auto just taking place in France it is a very high quality event that attracts a lot of really nice cars. Restricting itself to the Italian dolce vita it also provides a very homogeneous field of Italian sports cars. So let´s hope that in the years to come we will find again the time to visit in between the big events that hopefully get back to the calendar in the next year.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof

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